American rider John Hopkins said he 'exceeded my own expectations' following his first outing on the Tyco Suzuki at Cartagena in Spain on Thursday.

Hopkins was back in action on a racing motorcycle for the first time in over a year but his familiarity with GSX-R machinery ensured he quickly felt right at home.

The former MotoGP rider narrowly missed out on the MCE British Superbike title to Tommy Hill in a famous final-lap tussle at Brands Hatch in 2011 and is back for more this year with the Northern Ireland outfit.

Hopkins, who is joined in Spain by fellow new signing Josh Waters, said: "Today was my first day out on the bike and it has been a while, a year and a half since I last rode a race bike, but the good thing is I am familiar with the Suzuki Superbike and the Tyco Suzuki is easy to get comfortable on.

"I would say I have already exceeded my expectations in terms of lap times of what I wanted to do so anything above and beyond now is just a bonus."

Milwaukee Yamaha duo Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell plus FFX Yamaha's Ian Hutchinson, Ulsterman Keith Farmer on the PR Kawasaki and Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) are also participating in the shakedown as they build towards next month's opening MCE British Superbike round at Brands Hatch.

The Cartagena test concludes on Sunday.

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